Just Desserts

Maids of Honour

A personal favourite of mine. Just opposite Kew Gardens is a rather quaint tea room selling these puff-pastry cakes containing a rich melange of almonds, cinnamon, butter and brandy named after a famous terrace in Richmond. This was built for the ladies-in-waiting to a former Princess of Wales, Caroline of Anspach, who lived at nearby Richmond Palace.

[S]ince the horse meat scandal CabbieBlog this month seems to have taken on a distinct foodie theme. So for our final March post we take an excursion into the Capital’s culinary connections.


Those resourceful Romans are said to have stuck meat between two slices of bread to make a convenient way of eating on the move, presumably when conquering their European neighbours.

But the name sandwich is attributed to John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. His family insist that he invented its creation to allow him to work on Admiralty papers, but those less charitable suggest that it was more likely he was rather bus at White’s gaming tables.

The current Earl of Sandwich has resurrected his ancestor’s invention and given his name to a chain of upmarket sandwich shops.


Don’t mention this to our Gallic cousins but in 1662 Christopher Merrett having moved from Oxford to London demonstrated at The Royal Society how to make champagne, a full 30 years before Dom Perignon started his famed tipple.

Peach Melba

The Savoy’s famous chef Auguste Escoffier was credited as creating this dessert for opera diva Dame Nellie Melba. The combination of peaches, raspberries, redcurrant jelly and vanilla ice-cream were combined to protect her precious vocal chords prior to her appearances at Covent Garden.

Chelsea Bun

On the corner of Pimlico Road and Lower Sloane Street before the antique dealers arrived selling Georgian furniture, there stood a famous bun house royally patronised by Georges II, III and IV. Note the genuine light fluffy article containing raisins is always square.

2 thoughts on “Just Desserts”

  1. So glad you like the Maids of Honour. Did you know it was run by the same family, the Newens, for well over 100 years. John Newens retired and sold it a couple of years ago. The new owners have made it even better – just as delicious cakes, breads, pastries, etc and lunches and teas. All us Kew residents are very proud of it!


    1. Our favourite beach in Dorset has a tea room which, after remaining in the same family’s ownership for 4 generations, has recently been sold. I’m hoping when we return this spring that premises haven’t gone the way of many in the area – an upmarket ‘bistro’.


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